What is a (central) auditory processing disorder?

Auditory processing is what the brain does with what it hears - Jack Katz

Although the ears are responsible for the initial reception of

sound, the brain is responsible for the processing of that sound. For

individuals with a (central) auditory processing disorder (CAPD), a

breakdown can occur anywhere along the auditory pathways as the

sound is being processed. This causes the brain to "mishear" the

sound. Individuals with a CAPD often have average to above average intelligence and can have very strong visual skills.  


Diagnostic testing, completed by an audiologist specializing in CAPD, determines where along the auditory pathways the breakdown is occurring. Based on the findings of the test battery, subtypes of CAPD can be determined so that appropriate interventions can be recommended.


To learn more about the symptoms of CAPD, click here


Can a CAPD co-exist with other disorders?


Yes a CAPD can co-exist with other disorders such as ADHD, learning disabilities, receptive and expressive language disorders, sensory integration disorder and visual processing disorder.  Based on the pattern of findings in the comprehensive auditory processing evaluation, it is possible to determine the presence of a CAPD, even if other disorders are present. 


To learn more about diagnosing CAPD, click here

Auditory Processing Center of Pasadena

Subtypes of CAPD

Associative Deficit
Prosodic Deficit
Auditory Integration Deficit
Auditory Decoding Deficit

• Poor communication along the corpus callosum connecting        the right side and the left side of the brain

• Demonstrates abnormal labeling of tonal patterns

• Left ear deficit in dichotic listening

• Affects auditory and reading comprehension

• Unable to follow multi-step directions

• Difficulty with parts to whole

Tolerance Fading Memory Deficit

• Left hemisphere based difficulties

• Right ear deficit in dichotic listening

• Poor auditory discrimination

Mishears auditory information

• Affects reading rate and fluency

• Poor spelling

• May affect articulation



• Inefficient communication between the primary and                secondary associative cortical areas (language areas) in the    left hemisphere 

• Abnormal performance in both ears in dichotic listening

​• Gray area between auditory processing and language

• Auditory based receptive language disorder

• Difficulty applying the rules of language to incoming                auditory signals

• Right-hemisphere based difficulties

• Unable to hum or label tonal patterns

• Left ear deficit in dichotic listening

• Difficulty perceiving the musical or prosodic            aspects of speech

• Pragmatic language problems

• Misinterprets tone-of-voice cues


• Left ear deficit in dichotic listening with normal      labeling of tonal patterns

• Poor short-term auditory memory

• Poor reading comprehension

• Difficulty listening to speech under adverse              conditions

• Difficulty with expressive language

• Problems understanding speech in the presence      of background noise

• Can be a stand-alone difficulty

• Can be a problem in binaural interaction

• Can be present with any of the other subtypes